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|Viewing announcement # 289|
|We are testing some new ad placements. For the moment, they only appear when you are not logged in. (Jan 30th 2008) |
If you are a lurker or someone who reads DU without logging in to an account, you undoubtedly noticed that there are a few more ads on the site today. For reasons entirely out of our control, our advertising revenue has dropped significantly in the last three months, and we reluctantly decided that we need to make some changes in order to make up some of the shortfall. So we are testing some new ad placements to see how they perform. Allow me to explain.
Why our advertising revenue has declined
We have run two types of advertisements on this website for the last two years: BlogAds (the vertical column of ads appearing on our homepage, the Latest Threads page, and selected other pages), and Google AdSense (the more traditional banner ads, squares, and skyscrapers that appear on most of our pages). As our site has grown and our traffic and bandwidth have increased, these advertisements have provided us with much-needed additional revenue so we can continue upgrading and improving the site -- without asking our members to pay more.
In the middle of November of last year, Google AdSense made an important change to their advertisements which has dramatically decreased the revenue we -- and other publishers -- receive from their ads. If our ad representative at Google is being truthful, this change has also decreased the revenue that Google receives from their ads. Here is what they did: They drastically decreased the clickable area on their text ads. This change only affected the text ads (the little blue links with black text and a little green web address), not the graphical ads. The reason for the change is a legitimate one: They want to make sure that everyone who clicks on these ads actually intends to do so. With the formerly large clickable area -- the entire area of the ad -- some of the clicks were likely unintentional. Now that these ads have a new smaller clickable area, consisting only of the little blue link and the little green web address below it, the number of clicks on the ads has decreased significantly. And fewer clicks means less revenue. Our monthly revenue from Google AdSense has decreased by more than 50%.
What we are doing
In order to make up some of the shortfall in advertising revenue, we need to make some changes to our Google AdSense ads to improve the number of clicks they receive. In practice, that means three things: 1) We need more prominent ad placements on our pages; 2) we need to improve their relevance to our site, and 3) we probably need to increase the total number of ads. Our goal is to make the ads more prominent and relevant, without cheapening the appearance of our website and/or annoying our visitors. We believe it is possible to find a middle ground which most of our visitors will find acceptable.
Admittedly, we are not experts at this, so finding the optimal placements for our advertisements is going to take some experimentation. We are going to try a number of different ad placements over the next month or so in order to track their performance and learn what works. During this time, we want to minimize the annoyance to our visitors as much as possible. While we are experimenting, these new experimental ad placements are not going to appear on the screen for those of you who are logged in to your DU accounts. But if you are logged out, you will see them.
When the experimentation process is complete and we have found the optimal ad placements, we will decide whether we need to serve these new ads to those of you who are logged in to your DU accounts. As always, if you are a DU donor, you will continue to have the option to turn off Google AdSense advertisements. (To do so, just click the "Options" icon at the top of any page, then click "Edit your preferences." Look for the words "Display Google ads?" Select "no," then click the "Update" button to save the changes.)
Thank you for your patience as we work to maintain and improve this community.
David Allen ("Skinner")
Dave Allsopp ("EarlG")
Brian Leitner ("Elad")
Democratic Underground Administrators
If you have any questions, you may post them in this thread: http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
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